The Feb. 27 meeting, held at the McKinney ISD Stadium and Community Event Center, brought together members of council and the school board to discuss projects, programs and events that hold significance both to the city and school system.
A presentation by Director of Engineering Gary Graham provided an update on the Texas Department of Transportation’s US 380 bypass project. TxDOT’s identified preferred alignment for the bypass, called the Blue Alternative, is roughly 15 miles long and could begin construction as early as 2027, according to TxDOT. A virtual public hearing for the project will continue to accept comments until March 21 at www.keepitmovingdallas.com/US380EIS.
As part of the larger set of improvements coming to US 380, a preferred route for the Spur 399 extension from US 380 to US 75 has also been identified, Graham said. The route, referred to as the Orange Alternative, runs to the east and south of the McKinney National Airport.
“This was a strategic initiative for [the] city of McKinney that TxDOT worked with us on to move the alignment from the ... west side of the airport to the east side,” Graham said. “This alignment will allow for better access to the proposed expansion of the airport.”
McKinney National Airport was also discussed with Airport Director Ken Carley giving a rundown of ongoing improvement projects at the airport. Projects in progress include the extension of the runway and construction on the Fixed Base Operator terminal. Capital improvement projects underway at the airport total about $140 million, Carley said.
The MISD aviation program is also housed in a facility at the airport and is expected to remain there for the foreseeable future, Carley said. He also mentioned a new larger space may be coming to house that program.
“We’ve had some initial conversations just about basically finding the right site and starting to maybe look at what they would need in terms of acreage and access so that we can ultimately have a permanent home for them,” Carley said. “It’s a great program.”
Todd Young, the senior director of the district’s Career and Technical Education Center, presented additional updates on the district’s aviation program. The program is transitioning to focus on three programs: piloting, plane maintenance and drones. Students in the program also have the opportunity to earn professional certifications in the industry and begin their careers in aviation sooner, Young said.
“There is a demand in the industry, and that program really starts to get people interested at an early age in it,” Carley said. “We’re glad to have it out there, and we want to find a way to keep it there.”
Assistant City Manager Barry Shelton presented an overview of the proposed addition of a commercial passenger service terminal at the airport. The $300 million project could be operational as soon as 2026 if the bond proposition is approved by McKinney voters in the upcoming May election.
Two open house meetings will be held, one March 23 at Old Settler’s Recreation Center and another in April, to review a draft environmental assessment of the project, Shelton said. A virtual version of the open house will be accessible and accepting comments online as well, Shelton said.
Other project updates discussed at the meeting include events to be held at the McKinney ISD Stadium, including the NCAA Division II Football Championship as well as joint public safety initiatives led by Greg Conley, the recently appointed director of public safety. The meeting was also Superintendent Rick McDaniel’s last prior to his retirement. McDaniel noted improving the collaboration between council and the school district was a goal during his time as superintendent.
“I want to see this continued relationship; I want to see it actually get better. I want to see it continue to work and with an understanding that we as a whole entity can accomplish so much more than one entity at a time,” McDaniel said.
The lone candidate for McDaniel’s successor was announced Feb. 28. The candidate, Shawn Pratt, is the district’s assistant superintendent of student activities, health and safety.